NHL

After 2-hour talks, NHL asks union for proposal

11/20 2:05 PM

The NHL and NHLPA resumed discussions Monday night, following which the league requested a formal proposal from the union.

The NHL and NHLPA resumed discussions Monday night, following which the league requested a formal proposal from the union.

The bargaining session -- the first formal face-to-face meeting between the two sides in over a week -- lasted less than two hours and covered key topics such as player contracting rights and core economics.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the league wants to see a proposal from the NHLPA on these topics, among others, and feels they haven't seen that yet in the negotiation process.

"It's our position (that) we've made a couple comprehensive proposals in a row. We'd like to know where they are on all the issues and we asked them to think about putting together a comprehensive proposal for us to consider," Daly said.

NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr declined to address the details of the core economics discussion. Fehr said he'd go back to the NHLPA offices, consult with his membership on the evening's meeting, and confer with the league Tuesday morning.

The two sides are not planning to meet again until Wednesday. It is believed the union wants to take time to work on putting together a new proposal. The NHLPA says Wednesday's meeting will start around 10 a.m. ET at the league office.

Fehr said the union addressed player contracting rights -- a contentious point in negotiations as both sides have dug in on the issue -- but to no avail.

"We had hoped to engage them in a discussion about the players contracting issues that are so important to the players," Fehr said. "At least tonight, they were unwilling to do that."

The league, however, views both the core economics -- such as the division of revenue -- and player contracting issues as linked. Daly said the league pushed the union on their stance on the economics and did not receive any clarity.

"We've never heard a full proposal from them. We've heard their proposal on economics -- they're still suggesting that they're moving in our direction on economics," Daly said. "Until we know exactly where they stand on economics ... we think it's all tied together. We'd like to hear it all together."

Daly affirmed the league's interest in seeing the NHLPA make an offer that is linked to revenue growth, as opposed to a guaranteed player amount. The NHLPA's last offer proposed that players receive $1.883 billion (equivalent to the amount they took in last year) with 1.75 percent interest in Year 1, although it is believed that the league would like to see the division of revenue accounted for on a pure percentage basis.

"If their proposal continues to be a guaranteed player amount, sitting here on Nov. 19, that's not a proposal that would ... ever be acceptable to us," Daly said. "If that happens to be where we are, we will be a long way apart."

Although no formal proposal was submitted, Fehr said the union did "flesh out" a component of their previous offer -- a provision to deal with the back-diving contracts the league is staunchly committed to eliminate. Such long-term contracts contain lower salaries on the back end to lower overall salary-cap impact.

Daly said the league "understood the concept when he raised it two weeks ago, and I think we understood it again tonight."

Several new faces joined the negotiations following a stalemate that lasted over a week. Eighteen players in total attended the meeting from the union's side, including veterans such as Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis and Brad Richards. Meanwhile, Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke joined owners Jeremy Jacobs, Ted Leonsis and Murray Edwards on the ownership side.

The meeting comes following a tense week in which frustration seemed to spill over. Several players have been outspoken in wake of the recent impasse.

Florida's Kris Versteeg called both Daly and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman "cancers" while Detroit's Ian White called Bettman an "idiot."

Asked if such vitriol had a harmful effect on the process, Daly said neither he or Bettman "take those personally."

"I understand there is a lot of frustration in the process," he said. "I'm frustrated, in terms of being where we are. I think that's human nature."

Information from ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun was used in this report.


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